Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Montaigne

1533 – 1592 CE

Grandfather of the Enlightenment

Son of a fish-seller, grandfather of the Enlightenment, “the first modern man,” statesman, author, apostle of doubt and moderation, Renaissance author most in harmony with the modern mind; Montaigne wrote some of history’s most influential essays. A master story-teller balancing philosophy with personal anecdote, deep insight with entertainment, wisdom and humor; he built on Lucretius and had a direct influence on Francis Bacon, Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, Emerson, Nietzsche, and Shakespeare. “The most pagan of Christians,” called “the wisest Frenchman that ever lived,” he is still “read today as if he had written yesterday

Eras

Sources

Essays, French Essais

Unlisted Sources

Quotes by Montaigne (38 quotes)

“Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.”

Themes: Memory Forget

Comments: Click to comment

“The thing I fear most is fear . . . it exceeds all other disorders in intensity.”

Chapters: 72. Helpful Fear

Themes: Fear

Comments: Click to comment

“I distrust my present thoughts hardly less than my past ones and my second or third thoughts hardly less than my first.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Comments: Click to comment

“He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.”

Chapters: 46. Enough

Themes: Suffering

Comments: Click to comment

“A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Comments: Click to comment

“We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

Themes: Desire

Comments: Click to comment

“There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

Comments: Click to comment

“The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.”

Chapters: 22. Heaven's Door

Comments: Click to comment

“Let every foot have its own shoe.”

Chapters: 33. Know Yourself

Themes: Pluralism

Comments: Click to comment

“Learned we may be with another man's learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.”

Chapters: 10. The Power of Goodness

Comments: Click to comment

“the best marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.”

Chapters: 29. Not Doing

Themes: Marriage

Comments: Click to comment

“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Comments: Click to comment

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

Chapters: 49. No Set Mind

Comments: Click to comment

“It is only certain that there is nothing certain.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: Belief

Comments: Click to comment

“on the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”

Chapters: 67. Three Treasures

Themes: Humility

Comments: Click to comment

“Better to be tentative than to be recklessly sure - to be an apprentice at sixty, than to present oneself as a doctor at ten.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

Themes: Doubt

Comments: Click to comment

“We are entirely made up of bits and pieces, woven together so diversely and so shapelessly that each one of them pulls its own way at every moment.”

Chapters: 13. Honor and Disgrace

Comments: Click to comment

“We trouble our life by thoughts about death, and our death by thoughts about life.”

Chapters: 15. Inscrutability

Themes: Immortality

Comments: Click to comment

“Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.”

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

Comments: Click to comment

“A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”

from Essays, French Essais

Chapters: 24. Unnecessary Baggage

Comments: Click to comment

“One must be a little foolish if one does not want to be even more stupid.”

Comments: Click to comment

“Ease crushes us.”

Comments: Click to comment

“There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thoughts under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.”

Themes: Law and Order

Comments: Click to comment

“[Marriage] happens as with cages: the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out”

Themes: Marriage

Comments: Click to comment

“A man is not hurt so much by what happens, as by his opinion of what happens.”

Themes: Opinion

Comments: Click to comment

“Every man has within himself the entire human condition”

Comments: Click to comment

“Fear of death is the cause of all our vices... to philosophize is to learn to die.”

Comments: Click to comment

“Glory and curiosity are the two scourges of the soul; the last prompts us to thrust our noses into everything, the other forbids us to leave anything doubtful and undecided.”

from Essays, French Essais

Comments: Click to comment

“There is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.”

from Essays, French Essais

Themes: Family

Comments: Click to comment

“There is no passion so much transports the sincerity of judgement as does anger.”

Themes: Anger

Comments: Click to comment

“There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.”

from Essays, French Essais

Themes: Victory

Comments: Click to comment

“Everything that we find in to be healthful to life can be called a medicine... it is the privilege of medicine to attribute to itself all the happy successes that happen to the patient; and, as to all the ill accidents, they absolutely disown in laying fault upon the patient”

from Essays, French Essais

Themes: Medicine

Comments: Click to comment

“Nature has presented us with a large faculty of entertaining ourselves alone: and often calls us to it, to teach us that we owe ourselves in part to society, but chiefly and mostly to ourselves.”

from Essays, French Essais

Comments: Click to comment

“Dreams are true interpreters of our inclinations, but there is art required to sort and understand them.”

from Essays, French Essais

Themes: Dream

Comments: Click to comment

“There never were two opinions alike in all the world, no more than two hours or two grains: the most universal quality is diversity.”

Themes: Pluralism

Comments: Click to comment

“When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me? We mutually divert one another with our monkey-tricks.”

from Essays, French Essais

Themes: Entertainment

Comments: Click to comment

“It is commonly seen by experience that excellent memories do often accompany weak judgements.”

Comments: Click to comment

“It is no hard matter to get children; but after they are born, then begins the trouble, solicitude, and care rightly to train, principle, and bring them up.”

from Essays, French Essais

Comments: Click to comment

Quotes about Montaigne (6 quotes)

“There have been arm-chair philosophers in France; and all of them, with the exception of Montaigne, have been persecuted... the last degree of the malignity of our nature is to oppress those very philosophers who would correct it.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE
from Notebooks (1952)

Comments: Click to comment

“I had always been amused at Montaign's false ingenuousness, and at his pretense of confessing his faults while taking good care only to admit to likeable ones”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE via J. M. Cohen

Comments: Click to comment

“Montaigne simply turns his mind loose and writes whatever he feels like writing. Mostly, he wants to say that reason is not a special, unique gift of human beings, marking us off from the rest of nature.”

Lewis Thomas 1913 – 1993 CE
Gestaltist of science and art
from Medusa and the Snail (1974)

Comments: Click to comment

“Montaigne is wrong in declaring that custom ought to be followed simply because it is custom, and not because it is reasonable or just.”

Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 CE
One of the greatest French writers of all time
from Pensée

Comments: Click to comment

“Montaigne is the prince; his essays are the perfectly urbane expression of a man who kept his mind clear and his blood sweet.”

Lín Yǔtáng 林語堂 1895 – 1976 CE
from On the Wisdom of America, 1950

Comments: Click to comment

“The manner in which Epictetus, Montaigne, and Salomon de Tultie wrote, is the most usual, the most suggestive, the most remembered, and the oftener quoted; because it is entirely composed of thoughts born from the common talk of life.”

Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 CE
One of the greatest French writers of all time
from Pensées (1669)

Themes: Memory

Comments: Click to comment

Comments (0)

Log in to comment.